The motivation of teens to serve in Israel Defense Forces combat units may well break another record. Data collected by the IDF's Personnel Directorate on the March enlistment round suggests that for the first time eight out of 10 recruits with a combat profile have asked to serve in combat units.
This constitutes a 10% rise compared to the same period in 2007. "No doubt teens understand the need to be at the forefront," a military source said.
Army service motivation has been on the rise for some years now following the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead.
According to data currently being collected by the army, the combat motivation rate will apparently reach an unprecedented 80%. In comparison, 69.5% of eligible teens wanted to serve in field units in March 2007; 73% in March 2009; and 76% in March 2010.
A military source told Ynet that the current rise in significant. "There numbers reflect the desire of thousands of teens to become combatants – one should be proud."
'Teens realize there are hard times ahead' (Photo: IDF Spokesperson's Unit)
Other sources in the IDF explained that the rise in motivation stems from the youths' desire to serve in the frontline. "We do a lot to encourage enlistment in schools and other places. Commanders, including the chief of staff, talk to the students which greatly enhances their desire to contribute," the military source said.
"The teens realize that despite the relative calm we are facing hard conflicts and they must be there."
Despite the positive data, elements in the Personnel Directorate admit there are still many challenges to be overcome in the manpower field, with the rate of non-enlisters on the rise.
More than 13% of teens do not enlist in the IDF in favor of studying in yehsivot and are expected to reach 20% by the end of the decade. "We have an unfair situation where those who do enlist want to get as far as possible and there are many who never don uniform," one IDF source said.